We were all dazzled by the presence and the ideas we experienced during Angela Maier’s talk at the 5th Neuroheart Education Conference last May. And I think this talk left us with one single thought on our brains. That “WE MATTER”. It was impossible for me to resist and not ask Angela for an interview so as to learn more about this idea and herself. She accepted my call immediately and …here we are. Because the readers of NLC magazine DO matter for us!
- I think I cannot avoid the cliché of the standard first question but I think it will help our readers get to know you better. Give us a short background CV and tell us how you would like to be addressed? As a coach, a mentor, a teacher, an inspirational speaker or maybe a little bit of all this?
Of course! You can call me Angela. I’ve had a lot of different experiences so I’ve been a coach, teacher, speaker, author, entrepreneur, and probably more that I can’t think of! I’m also the founder of Choose2Matter, which is a global movement that seeks to inspire people to make change by letting them know that they matter.
- I must say that the first time I saw you during the Neuroheart Education Conference I was impressed, as well as all the attendees, with your talk on “people mattering”. You will tell us more about this idea in a minute but before this I would like to know your “whys”. What made you start spreading the word about “you matter” ?
Aw thank you! I first realized that people needed to hear the words “you matter” when I started teaching actually. All my students badly wanted and demanded to be noticed, no matter how big or small the thing to be noticed was. It could be something as simple as a student having her barrette on the left side of her bangs instead of her right side that day, and she wanted me to notice her and value her and tell her that her and her actions mattered that day and every day.
- Could you give us an overview of “you matter” mindset and maybe its main points?
“You matter” isn’t meant to be a compliment or empty words. It is a call to action meant to inspire others by making them realize their own value. And once people feel that they are important and have an impact that they can make in this world, they’re motivated and inspired to change the world for the better. These two words can be summed up with a simple framework:
ACCEPT that you matter and that your actions count.
ACCELERATE the message that everyone matters.
ACT by leveraging collective genius to solve problems that break your heart.
I have a keynote called “Mattering IS the Agenda” and that’s because it’s true. Mattering is the agenda that facilitates all others. People have a biological NEED to know that they matter, and so that is the most important thing we can do for others is to tell them that they matter to us.
- How can teachers apply “you matter” on a less formal, everyday humanistic basis and …if you became “minister of global education” how would you implement “you matter” in a more formal way? And as a supplementary question to the second one…Do you think that today’s formal educational systems favour “you matter”?
When I was a teacher, I started to get overwhelmed trying to let every one of my students feel special every single day, so I created a Noticing Notebook where I would write down five things that I noticed about five different students each day. It’s really simple but really incredible the impact that it can have on students, not only because they get to feel valued and important, but because it also inspires everyone in the classroom to write down things that they noticed about each other throughout the day.
I think that our education systems today definitely do not make students feel that they matter. Suicide and depression statistics have been increasing in schools over the years and I think especially with virtual learning, students are feeling isolated and unimportant. I have a course called Genius Hour and I would love for that to be implemented in every school around the world. It was inspired by Google’s 20% time, and it gives students the opportunity to work on “passion projects” of theirs for at least one class period per week. I think it’s so important for students to feel like the work they are doing truly matters, and by giving them the chance to work on projects they’re personally passionate about, we give them that opportunity.
- How can parents practice “you matter”? Starting from a very young age? Could it be that they also, as parents, need to realise first, how much they matter?
Parents can absolutely be a part of the #YouMatter movement. I think the Noticing Notebook is a perfect idea for parents and their kids because it’s a helpful reminder to ensure that everyone in the family feels valued and seen. Even if your kids are older, just sending them a text that says they matter to you really can make an impact, even if they play it off and say you’re annoying. I send my kids texts letting them know that they matter, and even though my daughter will sometimes act annoyed at me, she told me that she screenshots every message and has them all saved.
- Angela, tell us where people can find you and if there are any upcoming plans/presentations/activities – I must say to our readers that I was also amazed by your accessibility, humility and approachability as a professional and it was more than clear that you are doing all this because it really…matters to you!
Thank you so much, I have really enjoyed speaking with you! I am @AngelaMaiers on practically every social media you can think of – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Clubhouse – and my website is angelamaiers.com.
Also if you’d like to learn more about Genius Hour, you can go to my website and click on Initiatives!